Under 11 event: Berkshire, Bucks, Hants and Sussex
Sunday, January 29
The four counties challenge match at Claires Court saw Berkshire finish in a very pleasing second place, behind a predictably strong Sussex side. The draw pitted Berkshire against South West Zone rivals Hampshire and Buckinghamshire in the first two rounds, and the team scored very consistently winning 12-8 against Hampshire and 12½-7½ against a Buckinghamshire team which was without a number of regular players, but had been able to compensate for this by including players from Oxfordshire instead.
In each of the first two rounds the Berkshire team played patiently, and drew on strength in depth against Hampshire, whilst in the Buckinghamshire round, a strong performance from the top order sealed an emphatic lead.
The quality of this event as a practice match for the South West zone competition to come was emphasised by the change in scene when Sussex presented themselves as opponents for round 3. The Berkshire players were rightly in good heart from the previous rounds, and many long games were again played, but as one player commented of his opponent “he played so many good moves”, and the experience of playing the strong Sussex players usefully reminded us of another aspect of county chess. In spite of the 6½-13½ scoreline, this round did see some good individual results too, including Rachel Davey’s notable win in the all girl clash on board one.
So, a very encouraging all round display, with some good experience to remember when it comes to the South West Zone competition on March 18th. Before that, we will be able to take stock and prepare further at the training morning on March 4th.
Well done to the team as a whole, and to new U11 recruit Edmond Lote (3/3), Tomas Pena-Walsh (3/3), and Philip Archer-Lock (2½/3) on their unbeaten performances. Thanks are also due to Nabeel Hussain and Chloe Rogers, who joined Edmond in moving up from the U9 team and played as reserves, Chloe even claiming the scalp of the Sussex board 15 in one of her fixtures.